MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Thursday, February 1st, 2024

As our friend Emmett says, "Once you've seen one Center, you've Center." Some Centers are palatial with 100s of parking spots, while others are in the basement of a municipal building with no off-street parking. Those differences can make it difficult for Centers to compare themselves to others even if they're in similar communities. In December, we sent a survey to all of you asking these types of questions about your Center and now we get to recap the results. In this issue, we'll focus on the survey responses, but throughout 2024, we'll leverage the data and connect it to programming trends, market reach, visit frequency, and all sorts of other fun topics.

And don't forget to vote for your favorite logos. We'll recap the results next month. See the section on the left called "It's Time To Vote!" for more information, then click on the big thumb to vote for your favorites. Go ahead - there are some spectacular logos to choose from and some heavy hitters toward the end, so make sure you go all the way through!

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the
Let's Get Physical


Proud Of The House We Built

While 97% of the 860 respondents indicated that they do have a physical location where the majority of program and/or congregate meal participants attend on a regular basis, the nature of those locations is quite varied. The average year of construction was 1981, but there is almost a 300 year difference between the oldest and newest locations across the Network.

The Eagle House in Lunenburg, MA was built in 1740 and the Center has been in that location for more than 50 years. They have 7000 square feet and use all of it. Highlands Ranch, CO is about to move into a newly constructed 22,000 square foot home. Jill, we'd love pictures once you're settled!

The age of a building doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. The number of years that your organization has been in a location is equally as important.

That's a nice distribution. There are the same number of Centers that have moved in the last 5 years as have been in the same place for over 50 years. Check out the sidebar on the left that recaps the Original Intention of the buildings that Centers now occupy.

1200 Square Feet

The average Center size for the respondents to the survey is 13,559 square feet. As an aside, that's 11.6M square feet of cumulative Senior Center space that took part in this survey. Wowser. Anyway, to put some context around those numbers, 78% of Centers have less than 20,000 square feet. Only 9% of Centers have more than 30,000 square feet.

Parking Lot

Identifying the right number of parking spots is a tricky calculation. One of the questions in the survey asked if your Center has an adequate number of parking spots. 49% said yes and 51% said no. There was also a question about the number of off-street spots that are available to your participants. We combined that number with the square feet responses to come up a basic algorithm for how many spots per square foot leads to a "yes, we have adequate parking" response. We found that it's not a static ratio, but it has a negative correlation with the size of the Center. In other words, the number of spots per square foot is significantly higher for a 2500 square foot Center than it is for a 30,000 square foot Center. Here's what we found:

If you know your own square footage, multiply it by the optimal ratio for your square footage range above and see what you get. For example, if you have 7000 square feet, multiply that by .01 (the ratio for 5000 - 9999 square feet) and you get 70. According to the Network responses, that's the optimal number of spots to satisfy everyone in a 7000 sq. ft. building. The number of responses to the survey is substantial, but it's not 100%, so we're very eager to hear what you think. After you calculate the spots using the numbers above let us know how that compares to your actual number of spots.

In Through the Out Door

We noticed two interesting trends related to the question regarding number of entrances that participants use to access your location. The first is that older buildings, regardless of size, have nearly double the number of entrances of their modern, similarly-sized counterparts. The cutoff for old vs. modern seems to be about 1987. We realize that 1987 isn't actually old or modern, but it does appear to be the time (roughly) when buildings started being created with fewer entrances. The other trend, which is a bit baffling, is that Centers with greater than 2.1 entrances have, on average, less parking than those Centers with 2 or fewer doors. Weird, right? That one requires a deeper dive in a future Fun Facts. Maybe we'll dedicate an entire issue to parking!

Purpose Built

As mentioned above, 53% of respondents indicated that their location was built specifically for a Senior or Community Center. Here are some interesting tidbits about those Centers:

  • Oldest purpose-built Center was built in 1929 in Warren OH; it was the first YWCA and is now occupied by SCOPE Warren, OH and shared with the YWCA
  • Purpose-built Centers have 1.8 doors on average, fewer than Centers occupying building designed for other uses
  • Average size of purpose-built Centers is 14,248 square feet, larger than the Network average of 13,559
  • The average number of parking spots in purpose-built Centers is 72.6 and exactly 50% of those Centers think that’s not enough

Let Your Thumbs Do the Walking

Help out the Network by voting for your favorite logos. Your opinions will greatly benefit Centers who are looking to re-brand in the near future. Keep an eye out for the results next month!